The Handsome Monk and Other Stories
by Tsering Döndrup. Translated by Christopher Peacock
Pub Date 08 Jan 2019
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Tsering Döndrup is one of the most popular and critically acclaimed authors writing in Tibetan today. In a distinct voice rich in black humor and irony, he describes the lives of Tibetans in contemporary China with wit, empathy, and a passionate sense of justice. The Handsome Monk and Other Stories brings together short stories from across Tsering Döndrup’s career to create a panorama of Tibetan society. With a love for the sparse yet vivid language of traditional Tibetan life, Tsering Döndrup tells tales of hypocritical lamas, crooked officials, violent conflicts, and loyal yaks. His nomad characters find themselves in scenarios that are at once strange and familiar, satirical yet poignant. The stories are set in the fictional county of Tsezhung, where Tsering Döndrup’s characters live their lives against the striking backdrop of Tibet’s natural landscape and go about their daily business to the ever-present rhythms of Tibetan religious life. Tsering Döndrup confronts pressing issues: the corruption of religious institutions; the indignities and injustices of Chinese rule; poverty and social ills such as gambling and alcoholism; and the hardships of a minority group struggling to maintain its identity in the face of overwhelming odds. Ranging in style from playful updates of traditional storytelling techniques to narrative experimentation, Tsering Döndrup’s tales pay tribute to the resilience of Tibetan culture.